Stephen Hanessian

Stephen Hanessian

Université de Montréal

Chair title

NSERC/Servier Industrial Research Chair in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2018


Université de Montréal and Servier Canada have joined forces to explore innovative research projects in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology with the potential to develop new therapeutic agents for the treatment of diseases in oncology, cardiometabolism, central nervous systems, and immune-inflammation, addressing unmet medical needs. Activities within the Chair program will focus on developing synthetic chemical methods for new bioactive compounds. These compounds will be investigated for their pharmacological characteristics in collaboration with Servier scientists. The Chair’s main activities will be dedicated to fundamental research in novel chemical biology methodologies. They will also aim to understand chemical space in relation to protein–ligand and protein–protein interfaces influenced by small molecules and, eventually, new drugs. These are challenging, exciting areas that combine the fields of synthetic chemistry, in cellulo and in vivo biology, molecular modelling, chemo-informatics, structural biology and advanced instrumental methods. They will allow a better understanding of molecular pharmacological events in the body, enabling researchers to fine-tune these events. The expertise at Servier will be instrumental in guiding the basic research toward practical applications. It is anticipated that the Chair program will have a direct impact on the drug development pipeline at Servier Canada, leading to safe and effective drugs in target areas of unmet medical needs. It will therefore benefit the Canadian public through new medicines evolving from our combined efforts.

The Hanessian group is well known worldwide for its contributions to various aspects of drug design, synthesis of drug prototypes, total synthesis of medicinally relevant natural products, antibiotics, anticancer agents, development of methods for asymmetric reactions (including catalytic reactions), synthetic tools for chemical biology, and innovative methods in carbohydrate and amino acid chemistry. The Chairholder has decades of experience as a professor, researcher and consultant to major pharma and biotech companies. His contributions to the advancement of Canadian science and training of highly qualified students and postdoctoral associates from all corners of the world were acknowledged when he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998.

To maximize its contribution to the economic and social development of Québec and Canada, the Chair will focus on producing highly qualified and professionally competent scientists for the Canadian chemistry workforce, advancing knowledge in cutting-edge areas of biomedical sciences with practical application in drug discovery, and developing promising new technologies. The training of highly qualified personnel and dissemination of results through patents and publications should receive worldwide attention and have a major impact in revitalizing pharmaceutical research and development in Canada. The pool of top-level young scientists trained under the Chair program will allow Canadian pharma and biotech companies to thrive in an internationally competitive setting.


  • Servier Canada inc.

Contact information

Université de Montréal
Montréal, Québec



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